With the arrival of internationally famous actress Amanda Donahue in Emmerdale, we thought we’d take a look at which other famous actors and actresses have made appearances in the soaps. Granted, Amanda seems to be in it as a regular now, but you might be surprised to see which famous faces have made brief appearances in the soaps!
For instance, one of the most surprising very famous cameo appearances was by Prince Charles on Coronation Street. The Prince made his guest appearance in what the show’s producers described as “a near flawless” live episode of the Street which was part of the programme’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
The special hour-long episode featured a pre-recorded clip of the Prince in a television news bulletin meeting Councillor Audrey Roberts, played by Sue Nicholls – real name Susan Frances Harmar Nicholls – who’s used to mixing with royalty! Her father was Lord Harmar-Nicholls, former Conservative MP for Peterborough and MEP for Greater Manchester South. He is a life peer, and Sue is therefore entitled to be addressed as “The Honourable Susan Nicholls”
Then just last week, the non-royal – but still famous in the darts world – Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor made a cameo appearance on Coronation Street as a Disco Dave, member of the darts team who played against the Rovers.
And of course, once superstar of The Colbys, Stephanie Beacham, has been giving Ken some lead in his pencil of late.
Cliff Richard has also wandered the cobbles. Way back in 1997, the famous bachelor boy appeared exceptionally briefly in Coronation Street; it was a case of blink-and-you’ve-missed him. He had his back to the camera but hisjumper gave him away. It had the words ‘Rock and Roll’ across it.
Cliff isn’t really someone one might associate with rock and roll in its true sense of course, but Status Quo on the other hand were and are and they too made appearances on the Street.
Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt appeared in three episodes in 2005, their storyline centring around Les Battersby, who came face to face with his rock idols, culminating in the band playing at his wedding and him going off to be their roadie.
Royal Shakespeare actor and lovey Sir Ian McKellen starred in ten episodes of Corrie as dodgy author Mel Hutchwright. Sir Ian is a self-confessed fan of the show and jumped at the chance to appear.
Joanna Lumley was an early guest on Corrie too when in 1973, she appeared in eight episodes playing headmaster’s daughter Elaine Perkins. Ken had the hots for Elaine but she turned down his marriage proposal in order that Joanna could tour in Brussels, but the show’s bosses were keen to keep her at the time.
Peter Kay also appeared on the show and was, hilarious. He donned an horrific ginger wig to play Eric Gartside, wannabe Romeo whose already less than impressive image was further ruined by living with his domineering mother.
Another comedian, Sir Norman Wisdom, turned up on Corrie too playing elderly fitness fanatic Ernie Crab. The man’s still a bundle of nervous energy but he was great in his role.
Away from the Street and onto EastEnders, another comedian, David Walliams – of Little Britain fame – made a high-profile appearance when he played a fake registrar at the wedding of Alfie Moon and Kat Slater. He was great as the inept and bumbling sham officiate.
Music superstar Robbie Williams appeared on EastEnders in 1995 although he, like Cliff in Corrie, was barely on camera for more than two minutes. He was seen talking on the payphone in the Queen Vic, something that apparently achieved a long held ambition for Robbie!
Former Blue Peter host Peter Purves also had a cameo role in EastEnders in 1987 in which he interviewed the Albert Square residents for a fictional TV documentary. The characters were horrified by the way he misrepresented them in his documentary!
Now onto Hollyoaks and Andrew Lloyd-Webber played himself in three episodes of the Channel 4 show but to be honest, as musically talented as he undoubtedly is, he bores me rigid so I don’t suppose I’d have found him fascinating viewing, even if I’d seen him in it!
Morrissey appeared in another Phil Redmond brainchild, Brookside. In it, an excited Tracy Corkhill fawned in a statement of the glaringly obvious, “You’re Morrissey!” His performance, such as it was, confirmed that he shouldn’t give up his day job… but there, his singing is so diabolically dreadful, I would happily cut off my own ears rather than listen to his dirges.
Emmerdale hasn’t had that many famous folks donning green wellies but that said, TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson is made his acting debut in the show. The restaurateur played himself as part of celebrations to mark the Yorkshire soap’s 5,000th episode when he appeared as a judge for the Pub of the Year competition.
Little Britain stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams made an hilarious appearance in an episode of Neighbours back in 2007 which obviously isn’t a UK soap, but I thought it worth mentioning. The pair starred as Lou and Andy and, just as in Little Britain, Andy got out of his wheelchair the minute Lou’s back was turned. Apparently, they went down a storm! Here’s a clip of them…
Also in Neighbours, Chris Lowe of The Pet Shop Boys appeared as himself in an episode back in 1995. Chris drove up Ramsay Street in a white Porsche and asked for directions to a recording studio. I’m assuming he wasn’t trying to locate a loo roll tube and a gerbil… Here he is in the show…
Michael Palin appeared on another Aussie soap Home And Away in which he played a surfer. “I modelled the voice on Hugh Grant, the walk on John Cleese,” he said of his role at the time. Can’t imagine him on a surf board, can you? Here’s the proof though – well, proof that he can carry one anyway.
If you know of any famous faces who’ve been in our soaps, let us know.